Hyundai Santa Fe review
The Hyundai Santa Fe is a good looking, well built seven-seat SUV with a limited model range and a high asking price
Now in its third generation, the Hyundai Santa Fe SUV is available as either a five or seven-seater and thanks to its top-quality interior, practicality and generous kit, provides a headache for the Honda CR-V, Mazda CX-5 and Land Rover Freelander.
There is only one engine available throughout the Hyundai Santa Fe range - a 2.2-litre diesel CRDi. On every model apart from the entry-level Style, which is front-wheel-drive, the unit is mated to a four-wheel-drive transmission.
Buyers who opt for the mid-range Premium and flagship Premium SE cars also get the choice of either a six-speed automatic or six-speed gearbox.
Another factor worth taking into account is the pricing of the Hyundai Santa Fe. With a starting price of £26,000, it's within £4,000 of the BMW X3. This is a problem for the Hyundai Santa Fe, as it still can't match the Germans for cabin quality or badge appeal.
On the plus side, its cabin is roomier than the BMW and Hyundai includes an excellent five-year warranty. There’s also five-star safety rating from Euro NCAP for added peace of mind.
Overall then, the Santa Fe is a solid all-round big family car. That's why it won the award for Auto Express' Best Large SUV of 2013 and still features on our best 4X4s to buy list.
Our choice: Santa Fe 2.2 CRDi Premium 7 Seat
While some may argue the Hyundai Santa Fe doesn't look as appealing as rivals such as some of its rivals, it's not ugly by SUV standards. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder anyway so we’ll let you make your own mind up.
The front-end of the Hyundai Santa Fe is dominated by a trapezoidal (almost Audi-esque) chrome grille and aggressive angular headlights.
All three trim-levels of the Hyundai Santa Fe come well-specced. Entry-level and mid-range Style and Premium models come with 18-inch alloys, while the Premium and range-topping Premium SE cars have 19-inch alloys and a touchscreen sat-nav system.
Throughout the Hyundai Santa Fe range, nice interior touches such as a leather steering wheel and gear knob are also standard.
There is only one engine on offer with the Hyundai Santa Fe, the Korean manufacturer's punchy 194bhp 2.2-litre CRDi unit.
This unit feels nice and powerful and makes the Hyundai Santa Fe surprisingly rapid for a car that's this big. In fact, when fitted with the six-speed manual gearbox, the Santa Fe will manage 0-60mph in a lively 9.8 seconds.
On the move, the big Hyundai feels grown-up. The suspension deals with bumps well – although it’s a little on the firm side – and it's composed under cornering.
However, the steering occasionally feels a little bit vague and body roll control isn't fantastic on twisty roads. This is a big car and buyers seeking an SUV which is fun to drive may want to look at the smaller Mazda CX-5.
The Hyundai Santa Fe was awarded the maximum five-star rating in the Euro NCAP crash safety tests. It scored an impressive 96 per cent score for adult protection and as standard, it comes with seven airbags, a strengthened body shell and electronic stability control (ESP).
What's more, Hyundai includes a five-year unlimited mileage warranty meaning buyers can be assured of peace of mind. The interior feels well screwed together and all of the mechanicals were proven in the previous generation Santa Fe.
In our 2014 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey, the latest Hyundai Santa Fe didn't feature. In terms of manufacturers, Hyundai ranked 18th out of 33.
Given its size, it shouldn't come as a surprise that the Hyundai Santa Fe is supremely practical.
There are 969-litres of boot space with the seats in place, and when they are folded, this extends to 2,257-litres. If ferrying a brood of people is high on your agenda, a third row of seats is also available. It is, however, worth noting that these are difficult to access.
The 60:40 split-fold middle seats in the Hyundai Santa Fe slide back and forth for easier access. They can also be folded down by the simple pull of a handle. Leg and headroom is impressive, while large storage cubbies in the doors and centre console offer ample space for your odds and ends.
If caravans are also your thing, the Hyundai Santa Fe is an unparalleled choice as a tow car. It can pull 750kg unbraked or 2,500kg braked. Buyers can even specify a special Trailer Stability Assist system that improves towing safety by limiting torque and braking individual wheels when necessary.
The Hyundai Santa isn't too bad when it comes to running costs. Despite its powerful 194bhp 2.2-litre CRDi engine, it emits either 155, 159 or 178g/km of CO2 depending on the drivetrain and/or trim level.
With the six-speed manual gearbox and front-wheel-drive, the Hyundai Santa Fe manages 47.9mpg and emits 155. When the six-speed manual gearbox is combined with four-wheel-drive, it emits 47.9mpg and the CO2 output rises slightly to 159g/km. In 4x4 guise with the automatic gearbox, it achieves 41.5mpg and emissions rise to 178g/km.
Experts predict that, thanks to its upmarket interior, attractive styling and seven-seat configuration, the residuals of the Hyundai Santa Fe should be quite strong.
As with all other cars in the Hyundai model line-up, the Santa Fe includes a fully transferrable, five-year unlimited-mileage warranty and it's probably one of the most affordable cars in its class to run on a daily basis.